Days Forty-nine and Fifty – The Great Outdoors

August 4, 2008 at 12:08 am (daily life)

Camping.  It’s been a love/hate relationship kind of thing for me for the last 15 or so years.  I never camped as a child.  Not in a tent anyway.  I did 4-H camp  and church camp where we slept in cabins and the day’s worth of activities was all planned out for us.  Oh, and choir camp, drama camp, forensics camp…yes, I was that geeky…but those were on college campuses.

So, as a young adult, with a group of friends who had camped their whole lives,  I had a lot of learning to do.  Most of the time I tolerated the two or three days pretty well.  Sometimes I hated most of it and wanted to go home, but more often, I loved it.  It all depended on my mood, the “social climate” (i.e. how well the group was getting along that particular trip) and the weather.  The weather was probably the most important factor.  There is, quite possibly, nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night, in a tent, in the middle of a puddle, with wet nylon stuck to your face because your tent had just collapsed under the weight of t he rain.  If there is something worse, it involves lightning and a screen tent.

I am pretty sure that my husband has the same ambivalent feelings about camping that I do.  Throw into the mix his asthma which renders him crabby and fairly useless in conditions like, say, high humidity, high pollen, dust and dirt, musty tents and he’s not generally a happy camper. In his defense, I’d imagine it is hard to be agreeable when you can’t breathe, can’t sleep and insist on drinking all the alcohol that you packed before the ice in the cooler melts.

So, we went from  being two adults who could “take it or leave it” but usually chose  “take it” because it was mostly fun, to being two parents who could leave it, and  be  fine.

But, there is the small matter that our friends (and to some extent family…but this isn’t the place for a discussion of that) camp. And, no matter how old and  “mature” I get, I still HATE to be left out of things.

And, Isabelle really, really REALLY wants to camp.  I probably could not have heard her ask one more time “When  are we going to sleep outside in a tent?”  or “When are we going to camp with the  (insert friends’ surname) family?” or “We have camping supplies in the garage, right?  There’s a big green box that says Camping supplies on it.  It probably has everything we need to go  camping, right? So when are we going to go?”

Camping with kids presents its  own share of problems, particularly to someone  who doesn’t LOVE it.  Camping with a kid with CF…well, there’s a lot to think about.  How will we do her treatments and tube feedings?  What if she picks up some bacteria in the lake?  How do we keep her out of the smoke from the  campfire?  What if it rains and we get soaked in the tent?  Even a slight cold  has the  potential to turn into pneumonia which  means hospital…Is it worth it? 

Yes.

I promised myself long ago that CF will not steal simple pleasures from us.  That, regardless of the risks (within reason) Emily will LIVE.  Experience everything she can.  If that means a family camping trip that her sister is begging for (and, in all honesty, Mom is starting to crave, too…) then so be it. 

So weI decided we’d give it a try.  We’d just go, I decided. We’d make the best of the noise of the feeding pump (Not to mention the possibility of the sticky sweet smell of the formula making us an all-night diner for raccoons, rabbits, deer and bears… We’d do a treatment the hour before we left and again as soon as we’d get back.  We’d do our best to keep her hands clean and keep her out of direct smoke from the campfire.  Whatever it took.  We’d just go.  We’d swim, eat s’mores, enjoy our friends, hike, tell ghost stories or play “I’m going camping…” 

And we went.  Albeit it was only for one night, and it was only 20 minutes from home, and, oh yeah, Daddy brought Emily home at night for her treatments and feeding and so they could both sleep in the comfort of air conditioning.  But, we did it, and it was fabulous.

Isabelle was so happy.  So excited to do something new.  Emily really really really wanted to stay and sleep in the tent, but she got over it, and she knows she gets to do it  next year. Both girls just loved the swimming.  We all loved dinner.  As a very wise young camper once said, “Everything tastes better outside.”

This little mini trip was all I needed to build some confidence that we can do a little longer trip next  year.  Emily will still only be three, so we’ll still stick close to  home in case we need to make a run for it in the middle of the night.  But, we’ll go.  and it’s nice to know we can.

"Hmmm.  This sleeping bag is pretty comfy!  I could sleep here tonight, I think."

"Hmmm. This sleeping bag is pretty comfy! I could sleep here tonight, I think."

"Oh, I am getting  soooo sleepy"

"Oh, I am getting soooo sleepy"

"I am so tired!  You better just let me sleep here tonight, mom!"

"I am so tired! You better just let me sleep here tonight, mom!"

Ahhh, this is the life!  Sitting  around the camp fire in my jammies and hoodie!  Thanks mom!

Ahhh, this is the life! Sitting around the camp fire in my jammies and hoodie! Thanks mom!

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